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John Lewis states that Crocs have defined 2021

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

12 Oct 2021


Image: courtesy of John Lewis

Department store John Lewis has published its ‘Shop, Live, Look’ report for 2021, which reveals that the work-life balance has shifted towards life, with tents, air fryers, trampolines, Speedos and Crocs among the products that defined the last 12 months.

The annual report, which looks back at the products and trends that shaped the year, states that sales of footwear brand Crocs were up 58 percent after being worn by contestants on Love Island and being spotted on the Oscars red carpet. While the trend for wild swimming helped sales of Speedo’s men’s swim briefs double over the year. There was also the Tom Daley effect, he won his Olympic gold medal wearing a pair of very small trunks, and total sales of Speedo swimwear increased by 79 percent.

Image: courtesy of John Lewis

John Lewis adds that TV screens became consumers new shop windows as viewers adopted the fashion and lifestyle trends they watched on shows such as Friends: The Reunion, Line of Duty and Clarkson’s Farm.

TV show The Undoing caused sales of colourful coats to rise by 49 percent and online searches for neck scarves increased by 148 percent, while The Friends Reunion created a wave of Nineties nostalgia, and Jeremy Clarkson becoming a farmer on Clarkson’s Farm saw sales of women’s wellington boots increase by 53 percent.

John Lewis also adds that Line of Duty caused sales of waistcoats to rise by 114 percent between May and August when the show was on the air. With the retailer explaining that it knows the series was behind this trend as prior to it starting, waistcoat sales were down by 75 percent.

Image: courtesy of John Lewis

Consumers snap up Crocs, speedos and skincare in John Lewis’ ‘Shop, Live, Look’ report for 2021

While in beauty, it all became about skincare instead of make-up as people had more time for their wellness routines. Skincare accounted for over a third of John Lewis’ beauty sales, while sales of cosmetics fell by a fifth as people spent more time at home. Customers also became more interested in the ingredients in their products, with vegan and eco-friendly beauty lines remaining popular.

Image: courtesy of John Lewis

The trend for comfortable nightwear isn’t going anywhere as sales continued to rise at the department store, up 80 percent, while lingerie line And/Or had its biggest ever year, with sales up 6 percent. But the retailer did note that there has been a subtle shift in lingerie trends with sales of suspenders, bustiers and garters down by a quarter, while sales of more comfortable lingerie and crop top styles rose by similar amounts.

Meanwhile, the nation fell out of love with filing cabinets, which the department store stopped selling this year, as well as travel accessories, 2-in-1 laptops, briefcases, make-up bags, neck ties, thongs and children’s party clothes.

Image: courtesy of John Lewis

Pippa Wicks, executive director at John Lewis, said in a statement: “ The unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 have left a permanent mark on how we shop, live and look. People have become clearer about what matters to them and their work-life balance has shifted towards life. At John Lewis we’ve seen these changes emerge. We aim to delight, to deliver and to disrupt.”

John Lewis website accounts for 60 percent of sales

The way people shop has changed too, added John Lewis, before the pandemic, around 40 percent of transactions happened online or through its click and collect service. The Johnleiws.com website grew by 73 percent and now accounts for between 60 and 70 percent of John Lewis’ sales.

Customers also expect more flexibility and convenience than ever before, which has led the retailer to expand its click and collect service to over 1,000 locations, allowing shoppers to pick up purchases from John Lewis and Waitrose stores, as well as Co-op, Booths and Shell.

Sales through the John Lewis app have also risen from 15 percent pre-pandemic to 25 percent today, with Wicks explaining that half of the department store’s customers now make a “multi-channel journey when they shop,” meaning they combine online and physical visits.

Image: courtesy of John Lewis

What John Lewis predicts for 2022 - circular economy and nostalgia tech

When it comes to next year, the department store has identified nine trends including embracing a ‘Circular Economy,’ hanging out with friends and family in online places, rather than just talk at a screen, and buying into ‘Nostaligia tech,’ with the Walkman looking to follow in the footsteps of record players and polaroid cameras.

Other trends including buying virtual products, pet cameras, and home restaurants with meal kits and takeaways.

John Lewis’ futurologist, John Vary, states in the report: “The pandemic has accelerated a raft of changes that we were already seeing, such as the move towards flexible working and people’s desire for more adaptable living spaces. But it has also thrown life’s cards up in the air – and they are falling in some thrilling ways. People have identified scope for change, fresh starts and personal reinvention, which is always exciting.

“Consumers no longer need to buy things to possess them, and they’re finding inspiration in the gloriously niche. Meanwhile people’s increased savviness with the technology that became their lifeline during the lockdowns has led to a reimagining of barriers once assumed to be immovable. We no longer have to be in the same room to be together, and we don’t necessarily go on holiday to relax.”